Wed July 4, 2012
The Amazing Spiderman
The Amazing Spider-Man
Director: Marc Webb (500) Days of Summer
Screenplay: James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), Alvin Sargent (Spider-Man 2), Steve Kloves (Harry Potter)
Cast: Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), Emma Stone (The Help)
Runtime: 136 min.
John DeSando, WCBE’s “It’s Movie Time,” “Cinema Classics,” and “On the Marquee”
“If you want the truth, come and get it!” Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans)
As summer heroes go, The Amazing Spider-Man sits atop the chain with a sweet diffidence and charm that only 18-year- old boys can carry off as long as they’re the most acrobatic guys on the block. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) goes through the usual growing pains with the help of a serious villain, Dr. Curt Connors. Only Parker is not “usual,” for he is Spider-Man in the Marc Webb-directed reboot of the 2002 original Spider-Man, directed by Sam Raimi.
Spidey must keep his identity from Gwen (Emma Stone), a formulaic part of this legend that has bugged me ever since this series started. At least here the cat and mouse, er spider, game is kept to a minimum because Stone doesn’t stress as much as Kirstin Dunst was required to do over Tobey Maguire.
Spidey’s maturation during the discovery of his dad’s and Dr. Connor’s dangerous experiments in gene splicing is a strength of this adventure, where he slowly, carefully grows from cocky teen to crime fighter extraordinaire. Although the mutant lizard of this film is reminiscent of the Hulk, it doesn’t beat my favorite, Doc Ock (Alfred Molina); the humanity in all its ambiguity is admirable. Dr. Octopus’s role is similar to the Lizard’s in its ambiguity, and Connor’s having been close to Parker’s lost dad makes the combat more intensely personal.
Lizard’s plan to gas Manhattan and turn everyone into lizards is not the most exciting part of this new installment, nor is it the worst. The emphasis is still well-placed on Parker’s adolescent self-assurance and his growing awareness that he is more responsible than ever considering the death of Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen with Sally Field terrific as Aunt May).
Manhattan may have a surfeit of superheroes (Superman et al.), but few are fleshed out as amazingly well as Spider-Man in his awesome CGI and scientific smarts. And Emma Stone for a girl friend.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It's Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on demand at WCBE.org.
Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com